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  • Jennifer McIlvaine

Corn, Corn Everywhere... but not a kernel to eat...!

It cracks me up when my neighbors pull me over to tell me something “top secret.” This time it was about corn….well not just corn, which is called mais, but Granturco… a whole other world.

Anyway, I had asked my neighbor if he had any zucchini (as he works a small vegetable garden daily). He said he didn’t, but then pulled me over so that no one else would hear…and he said in a hushed voice… “oh – I’ve got some Gran Turco – do you eat gran turco?” Apparently he had planted a few rows for his son (because he likes to eat it) - but the whole operation seemed pretty covert... I don't know why no one can know about the corn, since no one here eats it... I'll just chalk it up to another of Cannara's many mysteries....

So of course I responded yes, because I’ve learned that if you ever turn anything down that’s free, you don’t get offered anything else in these parts. Then my neighbor explained to me that its not like the corn that I’m used to eating, (ie sweet, tender, and delicious), but its better… I know what that means – the usual corn that you find around here – corn for polenta (not really for eating). As I’ve previously written, people around here don’t eat fresh corn. You can just forget about finding something like Jersey Silver Queen – its either a variety for animal feed or for polenta making (or unfortunately for biomass - but that’s another topic…).

As my neighbor’s wife had been listening (purely for gossip puposes) to our conversation, a bag of corn was immediately tossed down to us from the window above. So I went home to make dinner. I would call this “late-harvest corn” as the husks were already pretty dried out – not a good sign… So my first plan of attack was to boil it. Italians love to boil (the crap out of) everything so I figured this was the best way to go. After about 20 minutes, the Granturco was unbelieveably still a little “al dente,” so I decided to puree it – but it woudn’t puree – it was still too chunky… So I mixed in a leftover boiled potato, an egg and some bread crumbs and tried to make a corn cake out of it. Boiled, pureed, and fried – I finally got something edible – but it was actually better the next day, as the time spent in the refrigerator softened the corn considerably - that must be the trick....

Result: another corn on the cobless summer….


Originally posted August 2011

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